Thursday, September 06, 2012

A victory for clean rivers

The Environment Court yesterday delivered its verdict on the Horizons Regional Council One Plan, upholding and strenghening requirements for nutrient management plans. Good. The Manawatu is one of the most polluted rivers in New Zealand, which smells of burnt sheep and faeces. And the reason for that is farmers, who overuse fertiliser, overstock their land, and funnel all their waste into the river. The nutrient plans will stop that, by requiring farmers to gain resource consent for their diffuse discharge. Naturally, they're going feral over it, threatening to close down or go overseas. To which the response is again "good". If dirty farmers go out of business, they will be replaced by clean ones. And that can only be beneficial to our environment and our economy.

But this doesn't just help the Manawatu; the precedent will allow other regional councils to impose similar requirements to clean up their waterways. They question now is whether they will take up the opportunity, or continue to support lazy farming standards and pollution.